Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley
Anton von Padua Alfred Emil Hubert Georg Graf von Arco auf Valley (5 February 1897 – 29 June 1945), commonly known as Anton Arco-Valley, German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 political activist, is best remembered as the assassin of Kurt Eisner
Kurt Eisner
Kurt Eisner was a Bavarian politician and journalist. As a German socialist journalist and statesman, he organized the Socialist Revolution that overthrew the Wittelsbach monarchy in Bavaria in November 1918....

, the first republican premier of Bavaria, in February 1919.

Arco-Valley was born in Sankt Martin im Innkreis
Sankt Martin im Innkreis
Sankt Martin im Innkreis is a municipality in the district of Ried im Innkreis in Upper Austria, Austria.-References:...

 in Upper Austria
Upper Austria
Upper Austria is one of the nine states or Bundesländer of Austria. Its capital is Linz. Upper Austria borders on Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as on the other Austrian states of Lower Austria, Styria, and Salzburg...

. His father Maximilian was a businessman and estate owner, whose elder sister had married Lord Acton. Anton's mother, Emily Freiin von Oppenheim, was from the rich, Jewish, Oppenheim
Oppenheim family
The Oppenheim Family is a German-Jewish financial dynasty, which has been a prominent family in banking and finance in the European markets since at least the 18th century. According to Forbes Magazine's Family Dynasties, the Oppenheim Family divides control of their multi-billion dollar fortune...

 bankers family. After serving with a Bavarian regiment in the last year of World War I, he was one of those decorated and wounded soldiers who returned from the front and was attacked by Reds in the street. Like Hitler he was an Austrian who had adopted Germany as his home and he enrolled at Munich University. As an angry and disillusioned German nationalist and an aristocrat
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, a monarchist and a proclaimed anti-Semite
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 despite his part-Jewish descent, he detested Eisner, the Jewish leader of the Bavarian socialists and Premier of Bavaria.
Arco-Valley might have decided to kill Eisner to prove himself "worthy" after he had been rejected for membership of an ultra-nationalist group, the Thule Society
Thule Society
The Thule Society , originally the Studiengruppe für germanisches Altertum , was a German occultist and völkisch group in Munich, named after a mythical northern country from Greek legend...

, because he was partly of Jewish descent.
On February 21 1919 on a Munich street von Arco-Valley, acting alone, gunned down Eisner. The killing of Eisner made him a champion to many Bavarians. Students at the University publicly proclaimed him a hero. His action triggered bloody reprisals by communists and anarchists in Munich in which a number of people were killed, including Prince Gustav of Thurn and Taxis
Prince Gustav of Thurn and Taxis
-Titles and styles:*22 August 1888 – 30 April 1919: His Serene Highness Prince Gustav of Thurn and Taxis-Ancestry:-References:...

. Fighting broke out and the short-lived Bavarian Socialist Republic was established. Arco-Valley inspired the young Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

, who was in Munich at the time.

"Eisner's death," as Hitler saw it and would later write, "only hastened developments and led finally to the Soviet dictatorship, or to put it more correctly, to a passing rule of Jews, as had been the original aim of the instigators of the whole revolution".

Arco-Valley was tried in January 1920. He was sentenced to death, but a conservative judge eventually reduced this to five years in prison. The State Prosecutor said of him, "If the whole German youth were imbued with such a glowing enthusiasm we could face the future with confidence." He served his sentence at Stadelheim prison
Stadelheim Prison
Stadelheim Prison, in Munich's Giesing district, is one of the largest prisons in Germany.Founded in 1894 it was the site of many executions, particularly by guillotine during the Nazi period.-Notable inmates:...

 in cell 70, and in 1924 he was evicted from his cell to make way for Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. He was released in 1925, and was on probation until 1927, when he was pardon
Clemency means the forgiveness of a crime or the cancellation of the penalty associated with it. It is a general concept that encompasses several related procedures: pardoning, commutation, remission and reprieves...


Arco-Valley played no further part in politics, although he was decorated by the Nazi regime as a "hero of the movement." On July 10, 1934, he married his distant cousin Maria Gabrielle Countess (Gräfin) von Arco-Zinneberg, daughter of Count Joseph von und zu Arco-Zinneberg (great-grandson of Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este
Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este
Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este was the second wife of Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria.-Early life:...

) and Princess Wilhelmine von Auersperg. In June, 1945 he was killed in a traffic accident in Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

. Arco-Valley was survived by his wife, who died in 1987, his mother, and four daughters: Maria Wilhelmine Gräfin Apponyi von Nagy-Apponyi (1935–1987); Marie Ludmilla (1937- ); Maria Antonia Gräfin von Spaur und Flavon (1940- ) and Maria Leopoldine Stengel (1943- ). He was a contemporary of another distant cousin of rather different political views, the physicist/inventor Count Georg von Arco
Georg von Arco
Georg Wilhelm Alexander Hans Graf von Arco was a German physicist, radio pioneer, and one of the joint founders of the "Society for Wireless Telegraphy" which became the Telefunken company. He was an engineer and the technical director of Telefunken...

 (1869–1940). His elder brother Count Ferdinand (1893–1968) married Gertrud Wallenberg
Wallenberg family
The Wallenberg family is a prominent Swedish banking family, renowned as bankers, industrialists, politicians, diplomats and philanthropists. The most famous of the Wallenbergs, Raoul Wallenberg, a diplomat, worked in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II to rescue Jews from the Holocaust...

 (1895–1983), member of the Swedish banking dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

, and cousin of anti-Nazi agent Raoul Wallenberg
Raoul Wallenberg
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish businessman, diplomat and humanitarian. He is widely celebrated for his successful efforts to rescue thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary from the Holocaust, during the later stages of World War II...

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